AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
The agricultural activities in the district can broadly be divided into those which are covered under the aboriginal way of cultivation in the hilly areas and others which are stuck to plain areas. Formerly a crude form of husbandry known as dalhi or kumri, was practised on a large scale in the hilly areas of the district. A patch of brushwood was cleared by lopping and burning, and immediately after the first monsoon showers, ragi and other coarse grains, and sometimes bajri were sown either in regular lines or broadcast. The patch of forest land was then abandoned after two or three crops had been raised. The system, however is now dying out. The strict forest rules introduced during the last few years have greatly reduced the area under this form of tillage even though it still continues to some extent in the dense forest areas of the district. Various schemes aimed at putting a stop to this form of tillage have been introduced in the programme for tribal development and agricultural activities have got pivotal importance. The improved methods of agriculture which are best suited to the hilly areas, are being propagated by the specially trained agricultural extension workers in the tribal development blocks. This enables the tribals to take to settled agricultural life.
Radical changes could also be witnessed in regard to agriculturists on the plains. Most of them have adopted modern agricultural implements and also the improved methods of cultivation.
The following is a brief description of the activities undertaken by Government and semi-Government institutions in this direction:—
The agricultural research station at Dhulia which has been established under the scheme for scientific improvement of cereals, pulses and oil-seed crops in Maharashtra is mainly carrying out botanical and agronomical research on the principal cereals, pulses and oil seeds. It also evolves high yielding strains of the crops. One agricultural officer assisted by an agricultural assistant is in charge of the station.
The work of cotton breeding is done at the cotton breeding substation at Dhulia under the technical guidance of the Cotton Breeders
at Jalgaon. The research station is mainly carrying out research on the virnar variety of cotton and on other hybrid varieties. Recently they have introduced Y-1 variety of cotton in the district. One agricultural supervisor assisted by an agricultural assistant is in charge of the breeding station.
The agricultural school established in 1923 at Dliulia also provides facility for training in agriculture and its allied activities. There is a diploma course of a duration of two years. The school has got an agricultural farm of about 158 acres. Besides, the school has got a library, a dairy section, piggery section and a mendhawada.
A government agricultural college was established at Dhulia in 1961-62 aimed at providing advanced agricultural training. The total land acquired for the college is about 500 acres out of which an area of 20.243 hectares (50 acres) is under buildings and proposed tarm roads. The remaining area of about 182.109 hectares (450 acres) is under cultivation. The college provides
for a four year degree course in agricultural science. Besides peripatetic training classes of three days duration are also organised by the Zilla Parishad under the mass training scheme which has been started in the district from 1965 for imparting training in agriculture to farmers. The shibirs or agricultural training classes of the duration of 15 days are also conducted at the College.
The research activities of these institutions in the district are complemented by the agricultural extension workers who dissennate the technical information through the audio-visual-aids, and also by organising the village leaders training camps, demonstrations and training classes of various durations and by arranging farmers tours.